Pastor Mark's Remarks

Paster Mark's Remarks
What are you thankful for?
Thanksgiving is almost upon us and I hope there are many things for which you are thankful. We are told throughout the Bible to give thanks to the Lord for all things, yet that is often hard, especially during this pandemic. Nonetheless, by giving thanks, even in hard times, we can grow spiritually as disciples of Jesus Christ. I hope and pray that each of you have a safe and joyful
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The Hidden Talent
We often praise the slaves who took the talents given to them by their master and doubled their value: one who turned five talents into ten and the other who turned two talents into four (Matt 25:14-30). And then there is that unfortunate slave who was given one talent and instead of investing it, he hid it in the ground, so that when the day of reckoning arrived, he only had
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But isn’t logic, well, logical?
Maybe it is just me. But isn’t logic, well, logical? Why is it that what seems so logical to me, does not even enter the picture of another person? I mean, isn’t there evidence-based research to support what is considered best practice for loading a dishwasher?! Isn’t it logical to use your turn signal when switching lanes, or to not travel at a slow speed in the passing lane? Well, apparently
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Origins of All Saints' Day
With roots dating back some 2000 years to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), the Catholic Church (ca. 1000 AD) slowly supplanted this pagan festival with All-hallows or All-hallowmas (All Saints’ Day). The evening leading up to All-hallows was called All-Hallows-Eve (eventually Halloween). As in olden days, people continue to dress up in costumes and today a quarter of all the candy sold in the US is sold on
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We are called to love
You would think it should be easy. Instead of a whole boatload of some 600+ commandments covering everything from how to dress, what to eat, how to grow crops, and what to do and not to do on pretty much everything under the sun, we are given only two commandments—the most important two. One is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and the second
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Separation of Church and State
“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (KJV). Yes, it is a verse with which most of us are familiar and can probably quote. There is such a simplicity and directness in Jesus’ answer that we are to give to Caesar, that is the State, the things that belong to the State, and that we are to give to God the
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God of Old Testiment Versus the New
It’s a common misconception and a widely held belief that the God of the Old Testament (OT) is different than the God of the New Testament (NT). That the God of the OT is a God of wrath, violence, and judgement and the God of the NT is a God of mercy, grace, and love. And then we encounter our gospel lesson for this Sunday–a red-letter passage (i.e., in Jesus’ own
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God's Church and "My Church"
Some lines are so fine it is hard to know when we have crossed them. One of these lines is the one between God’s Church–the Bride of Jesus Christ–and “my church.” Yes, it is true that my family and I have attended my church for years. Yes, it is true that over the years I have supported my church financially, I have taught Sunday School classes, I have served on various
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"The Stages of Faith"
James Fowler, a scholar who taught at Emory, wrote an excellent book titled “The Stages of Faith.” I highly recommend it! Without going into detail, he spoke of six stages from of “primal faith” as an infant to “universalizing faith,” which a few adults may achieve in their lifetime. Central to this development is the question: in whom do you put authority. As an infant, authority is all in the parents.
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We come together in a time teetering
This Thursday, I have been invited to provide the Invocation at our annual meeting of the Association of Professional Chaplains. As a member of their Board such requests are normal, but I wanted to share a couple lines from the prayer, because they also speak to us. In it I write, “[w]e come together in a time teetering on the edge of an abyss filled with uncertainties, challenges, anxieties, and frustrations.
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